- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 19, 2020

President Trump met Friday with lawyer and conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell and discussed placing her in charge of a federal investigation of the election he recently lost, news outlets reported Saturday.

Mr. Trump hosted Ms. Powell at the White House during a meeting in which participants considered the possibility of making her a “special counsel on election fraud,” The New York Times first reported.

Citing two people briefed on the meeting, The Times reported that Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former adviser, and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, participated in the discussion as well.

Politico corroborated those details and others shortly after the Times report was published. The White House did not immediately respond to a message requesting its comments on the contents of either.

Both articles indicated Mr. Trump discussed making Ms. Powell a special counsel who then would oversee a federal investigation of his defeat to Democratic challenger President-elect Joseph R. Biden.

Ms. Powell has been among the most vocal Trump supporters to deny he was defeated and, along with Mr. Flynn and Mr. Giuliani, among others, have cited numerous unfounded claims to make sense of his loss.

Indeed, lawyers for Mr. Trump’s reelection campaign, including Mr. Giuliani, distanced themselves from Ms. Powell last month amid facing scrutiny for her spouting outlandish allegations and conspiracy theories.

Ms. Powell subsequently pursued several lawsuits separate from the Trump campaign alleging fraud occurred in the presidential election, but she has offered no credible evidence and won none of those cases.

Along with Mr. Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, Ms. Powell also recently suggested Mr. Trump deploy the U.S. military due to effectively prevent his presidency from ending.

Times journalist Maggie Haberman reported on Twitter that people briefed about Friday’s meeting said the president inquired about Mr. Flynn’s suggestion of deploying the military, but that the idea was rejected.

Army leadership issued a statement Friday amid Mr. Flynn and several other Republican allies of Mr. Trump suggesting he declare martial law or otherwise involve the U.S. military in his defeat.

“There is no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of an American election,” said Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville.

Previously, after the U.S. government assessed Russia interfered in the 2016 White House race, the Department of Justice made former FBI director Robert Mueller special counsel in charge of investigating.

Attorney General William P. Barr, the current head of the Department of Justice who would appoint such a special counsel to investigate the 2020 race, recently announced he is resigning effective Dec. 23.

Ms. Haberman said on Twitter that the president and Ms. Powell reportedly discussed having her “working inside the White House,” not the Justice Department, citing “multiple people briefed” on the meeting.

Ms. Powell did not immediately respond to a message about the reported meeting.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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